Power forwards Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge headline this summer’s free agent class — assuming Love does opt out. The two power forwards with excellent range will command attention from every NBA team with cap space and even could be involved in a sign-and-trade deal.
Teams like the Spurs and Mavericks are said to be the early favorites for LaMarcus Aldridge with the Knicks and Lakers also being teams that will try to acquire the 6’11 29 year-old. Love on the other hand, could end up being the domino that creates a frenzy of moves and will attract the same attention if he were to leave Cleveland.
For the sake of argument here, lets assume Love does exercise his player option and leave the Cleveland after just one season, Aldridge could then be a target of the Cavaliers in which a sign-and-trade deal could be executed.
Yet sources insist — at, yes, this early juncture — that San Antonio sits near or at the top of Aldridge’s list … unless the Cleveland Cavaliers were to lose Kevin Loveand then somehow manufacture a way to sign-and-trade for him.
Via Pro Basketball Talk:
Cleveland would be an intriguing destination, and Aldridge could provide some of the floor-spacing Love did next to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving – though Aldridge doesn’t stretch beyond the 3-point arc like Love did. Aldridge also doesn’t pass like Love, and Aldridge is older.
Keeping Love should definitely be the Cavaliers’ preference, though it isn’t just their choice. Love has a player option, and he’s reportedly at least considering leaving Cleveland.
If the Cavaliers lose Love, signing-and-trading for Aldridge would be difficult. A deal would have to appease the Trail Blazers, who wouldn’t rush to help their All-Star forward leave Portland. And if it’s good enough for the Trail Blazers, Cleveland might be giving up too much.
It’s important to remember that Aldridge is turning 30 in July and this will be his last chance at grabbing a big contract. With the Blazers being able to offer him the most money, this could be the deciding factor in Aldridge’s decision. If Aldridge was only 26, 27 or even 28 years-old, the money wouldn’t factor in as much because he could sign a shorter deal with the intentions of cashing in big time when the salary cap goes up in 2016.
But at 30 years-old heading into next season, Aldridge probably doesn’t want to gamble on a short deal with the hopes of parlaying it into an even bigger deal. It would be risky considering his age and teams might be scared off into offering a player that is in his early 30s a massive contract.
The last and most interesting part of a potential trade between the Blazers and Cavaliers would be the players involved in the deal. I can’t envision a scenario where Love is included seeing that the entire point of this type of trade would be if Love left the Cavs and there has been no rumors of Love wanting to play for the Blazers.
Here is a hypothetical trade proposal which would be contingent on players agreeing to sign-and-trades.
Blazers receive: Iman Shumpert (Sign-And-Trade), Tristan Thompson + 2018 first round pick
Cavaliers receive: LaMarcus Aldridge
That might not be good enough in eyes of Blazers fans, but they have to remember that Aldridge could leave in which case Portland wouldn’t receive any compensation back. So to grab a couple young players with solid upside and a future first round pick would be much better than receiving nothing. Plus the Blazers would have a boatload of cap space and could build around a young and exciting nucleus of Damian Lillard, Iman Shumpert, C.J. McCollum and Nicolas Batum.
In addition, the Blazers have their 2015 first round pick and they get to keep their 2016 first round pick if it falls within the top 14 spots. So assuming the Blazers had a down year next season, they could end up adding a lottery pick to their young core they currently have.
In other words, it’s not the end of the world if Aldridge does leave. But even if LaMarcus does stay, the Blazers need to add much more talent to their team as Robin Lopez, Wesley Mathews and Arron Afflalo are all free agents who could leave Portland.
Which means the Blazers might find themselves in the dreaded middle of the pack theory. Most people would argue that you don’t want to be in this position. NBA teams either want to bottom out so that they could add a franchise changing top lottery pick, or having a young team on the rise. This of course assuming that you’re not one of the few title contending teams the NBA has from year-to-year.
The Blazers brass and fans will get the answer to this soon enough…